History Corner

City Hall Under Construction

Image via Yesterday's Atlanta

While digging around for info on something “nerdy” (her word)  having to do with downtown, Christa T., whose endlessly entertaining blog you should check out, found that “there was great controversy over the cooking of sausage and onions in the streets by vendors in the late 1800s.”

“Personally,” she writes, “I think there’s nothing more delicious than the fragrance of onions being sauteed, but perhaps it could be offensive when mingling with other turn-of-the-century street smells in a city where they desperately want to appear as sophisticated as New York City.”

Unfortunately, Christa wasn’t able to find any photos of the renegade lunch stands on Marietta Street, but she sent us the following article:

From the Atlanta Constitution, March 26, 1898:

Fight on Lunches, Bells, Whistles
Effort To Be Made To Stop Marietta Street Lunch Stands

A general reform measure will be presented to city council in the near future as the result of active crusades against the ham-egg-sausage-doughnut stands now decorating Marietta street, the alleged useless ringing of engine bells in the center of the city and the earning morning blasts of factory fog horns.

Between Pryor and Forsyth, on Marietta and Decatur streets, numerous lunch stands are located under authority of the city council. Several months ago, before the chefs had fully tested the public voracity, the menus consisted only of wienerwursts and hot tamales, but now these establishments have broadened out until anything from a dish of ham and eggs to a welsh rarebit, with all sorts of sausages and delicacies, may be had five minutes after ordering. The prices are reasonable and these up-to-date caterers are coining money. Every night after 6 o’clock their stands are surrounded by a group of hungry customers.

Out of this domestic mixture comes a composite odor which permeates every nook and corner of the Electric building, corner Broad and Marietta streets, to say nothing of the establishments between corners on this block. The odor of onions, eggs and sausages has caused citizens much annoyance and the are raising a protest against council granting license to these establishments, which the neighbors say are public nuisances. A petition signed by a large number of citizens will be presented to council asking that the licenses not be renewed.

In Earnest!

Food cart in San Francisco

This morning at 10:30, in City Hall room 250, the city of San Francisco officially begins its debate on how best to harness the city’s street food movement and make the permitting process sane. An article by Heather Smith of Mission Local discusses the same rules Atlanta vendors will have to contend with, notably the fact that push carts and trucks “must have a three-basin sink with running water and a foot of drain board on either side,” and if they have a grill, “an air filtration system.” This, of course, makes it virtually illegal to sell/cook food out of anything smaller than a truck.

On the bright side, Food News Journal has found our site and given us the thumbs up.

[Image courtesy markenic72 on Flickr.]

Meet the Atlanta Street Food Coalition!

Hayley Richardson

Hayley Richardson

Hayley Richardson, a slip of a girl whose various interests include city planning, renegade gardening, and healthy food, has rallied a group of people some of of whom are very close to rolling out their own food carts and trucks and founded an organization that campaigns for safe, affordable, and legal access to street food in Atlanta, Georgia, and the surrounding metro area, by:

  • gathering vendors, businesspeople, street food enthusiasts, and other concerned citizens to create a movement for positive change in Atlanta’s mobile food system;
  • persuading local and state lawmakers to revise current restrictive vending ordinances that hinder the proliferation of street food culture, and to implement instead a regulatory system that encourages sidewalk and roadway entrepreneurship;
  • fostering positive relations between street vendors and the residents and businesses of the communities they serve;
  • educating and creating awareness of the integral role street vendors could play in rejuvenating the life and economy of Atlanta through the creation of viable business opportunities and jobs for Atlantans;
  • facilitating a thriving urban street food scene that brings casual, affordable, delicious food options to Atlanta’s streets, fosters connectivity between residents and promotes the city itself as a food culture destination.

Look at the cute Artichoke Bliss cart she hopes to deploy, follow the coalition on Facebook, and sign our joint petition to get the ball rolling.

Urban Desert or Food Court of the Future?

Empty lot

“It’s an interesting, fun idea to activate some space that’s underused. That’s what makes a city,” says Simon Pastucha at the L.A. Planning Department’s Urban Design Studio.

Read more here and see how cities pockmarked with empty parking lots and dead car dealerships can transform bleak spots into profitable hubs.

Hopefully, “before” and “after” pictures will convince the powers that be and the owners of potentially profitable properties that they need to get behind the concept of semi-permanent open-air food courts.

Just Wondering…

Kim's Katering

Remember Kim’s Katering Truck, which shows up at warehouses and machine shops in the early morning? Well, I discovered another food pick-up truck this morning called Bob’s Catering, which is serving up all the same kind of junk items too. Furthermore, I found out that Erica’s Sidewalk Cafe that I noticed last week on Baker St. near the Hilton is also billed as a catering service.

So, this begs the question… are there different rules that apply for ”Catering” trucks? In other words, could people start food trucks next week if they claim to be catering trucks?

Bob's Catering